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NFL players and coaches are conditioned to put losses behind them quickly, but that has not been easy for the Jets this week.
Sunday’s last-second 31-28 loss to the Raiders has lingered more than most.
“The start of my whole career, I heard that for seven straight years was you had 24 hours to get over it,” coach Adam Gase said. “I think the only time I ever been involved in a loss like this was to end a playoff game, so I could be pissed as long as I wanted to and nobody would care. It’s tough.”
The Jets looked like they were about to win their first game of the season Sunday as they held a 28-24 lead over Las Vegas with 13 seconds left. Then, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams called a Cover Zero blitz, leaving no safety help and Raiders quarterback Derek Carr hit rookie Henry Ruggs III for a 46-yard touchdown to win the game.
Players and coaches are not allowed inside the training facility on Mondays and Tuesdays other than to receive medical treatment due to COVID-19 restrictions. Gase canceled virtual meetings on those days to give guys time to bounce back from the loss.
“It’s tough, I think our players will do a good job and they’ll respond the right way, they have through this whole thing,” Gase said. “As coaches, we’ve got to do the same thing. Like I said, doing the virtual meetings, that’s probably the one part that really is annoying, because our guys help the coaches pull you out of the funk, because these guys come in here with the energy they need to come in here with and they’re ready to go. That helps more than anything.”
Gase fired Williams on Monday morning and later said he regretted not calling timeout to change the call. He was asked if the loss sent him into a funk.
“I was pissed,” Gase said. “I felt like our guys played well enough to win.”
The Jets don’t have too much time to wallow in self-pity. They face an 8-4 Seahawks team Sunday in Seattle. Several players said Wednesday’s practice was a good sign.
“We had a fantastic practice today,” center Connor McGovern said. “Everyone was flying around. The energy was high. That’s how it’s been every Wednesday. The way we practice definitely doesn’t reflect our record by any means. I’ve been on teams with better records that don’t practice this hard with this much enthusiasm and energy. I think that’s why we’ve gotten better every game this year. We’re improving.”
At 0-12, it is fair to ask how much more these Jets can take. They have continued to play hard despite the season being lost months ago. Three of their last four losses have been by single digits. After often being noncompetitive early in the season, the Jets have played better lately even though they have not been rewarded with a win.
“It’s tough not winning, for sure, but you still have to come in and understand that it’s a job,” wide receiver Jamison Crowder said. “You have a duty to fulfill. You still go out there and try to put good stuff on tape week in and week out.”
Running back Ty Johnson, who had 104 rushing yards in the loss Sunday, said the Jets have no choice but to get past the Raiders game.
“It stings a bit, but you’ve got to keep moving forward,” Johnson said. “This is a moving train for every team. It’s not going to stop no matter what. You’ve just got to get over it, have some amnesia, make the corrections and forget about it and move on to the next one and execute your job the next time.”